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Game 6 Player of the Game: Matt Stajan

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- When Calgary Flames veteran Matt Stajan slammed the puck past Vancouver Canucks' goalie Ryan Miller at the 15:43 mark of the third period, breaking a 4-4 tie, he wasn't thinking about how special his first playoff goal was or basking in the absolute elation of the thunderous C of Red.

He just wanted his team to make it to the final buzzer unscathed by a desperate Canucks squad.

"We scored it and the first thing that came to my mind is, 'We've got five minutes here to finish them off,'" he chuckled. "Looking back now ... it's so special. It's been such a tough year for my family.

"This team has been great all year. We've found a way and we found a way [last night.] To be a part of this, it's amazing."

Stajan is now the only player in Flames franchise history to have his first career playoff goal count as the series-clinching tally -- fitting given he embodies the organization's culture and mindset.

"Matt Stajan is a reflection of who we are as a team," head coach Bob Hartley stated. "Hard worker. You look at the winning goal ... That is the Calgary Flames."

The game didn't get off to the start Stajan and the Flames wanted, with the Canucks leaping out to a 3-0 lead in the opening stanza. But, like they have done all season long, the Flames put on their work boots and chipped away.

They killed off a interference call against Josh Jooris midway through the period and the jam-packed Scotiabank Saddledome roared for the home team, something that boosted the energy on the bench and cued the comeback.

Michael Ferland scored his first postseason goal in the dying minutes of the first period, the Flames top line chipped in with a pair of markers in the second frame, and Calgary never looked back.

They were sure, no matter what Vancouver threw at them, that they could find a way to get ahead.

"We killed a penalty off and the crowd gave us some energy," Stajan explained. "They got going after a killed penalty, of all things, and we were able to find one late in the period.

"The confidence after the first was pretty high. The mindset is win each period here and we have a chance to move on. There was no doubt that we were going to get our chances. We just had to make sure we shut them down."

And Stajan was a key part in shutting them down. He and his linemates -- Ferland and David Jones -- were matched-up against the Sedin line.

The Canucks top trio did have their zone time but Stajan's line did a commendable job defending against the twins and Brandon McMillan, pushing them to outside and making an effort each shift to cut off all of their passing lines.

Stajan ended the night with a goal and three points, two shots on net, one hit, and 17:28 in ice time. He also led the Flames in the face-off circle, winning 59 percent of his draws.

The Flames will face the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference semi-finals. The schedule has not been released.

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